An insomniac Scots Calvinist looks at the Church and the world and wonders where it all went wrong

A SHIRT TOO FAR

Our oh so sophisticated society congratulates itself on throwing out Christianity and accounts itself liberated and free to pursue its own dreams without the hampering dead-weight of outdated dogma constantly hindering its advance to the sunlit uplands of a progressive utopia. Unfortunately there is always a price to pay.

One of the great benefits to society of Christian dogma is that it holds a balance between human greatness and human weakness. One the one hand man is made in the image of God, ‘a little lower than the angels’, on the other hand he is a fallen creature living in the midst of a fallen creation. At once of infinite worth, and at the same time subject to total depravity.

It is the latter doctrine which has been vigorously rejected by our society. True it is unfortunate in its designation. Total depravity gives the impression of being utterly depraved; when what total depravity indicates is the breadth of our fall. Flawed and distorted in every facet of our being, we are not the people we were created to be.

‘What a monstrous doctrine’, cry our undereducated utopian progressives, ‘Away with it’. Yet it is the doctrine of total depravity which has kept society sane and helped curb our selfish egos. If we throw out the very idea of human weakness and retain only the concept of human goodness we end up with today’s Western world, a society of unlimited self-conceit. Discarding it has brought about a society in which we celebrate self promotion and ignore real achievement.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasiemnko is a chunk of freezing rock about two miles long travelling through space at 135,000 mph. It is more than 300,000,000 miles away, so far from the earth that it takes radio signals 28 minutes to pass between it and earth. Yet pass those radio signals did. A team of scientists from the European Space Agency launched and guided the 15 stone Rosetta space craft close enough to 67P to detach the Philae probe, steer Philae to the comet and land on its surface.

This is an event which actually deserves the description of ‘mind boggling’; those of us with little scientific background stand amazed at what has been achieved, those with a scientific background stand and applaud.

Yet Dr Matt Taylor, a brilliant space scientist acting at one time as spokesman for the team, felt forced to apologise with tears in his eyes for something which he had done. This brilliant astrophysicist who had achieved a goal which must have consumed his life for more than a decade had sinned at the moment of his greatest triumph. ‘I have made a big mistake, I have offended people and I am sorry about this.’ The ‘big mistake’ which caused offence? He had worn a shirt on television which some people thought ‘inappropriate’.

To Boldly Wear ...

Whilst being interviewed on television Dr Taylor wore a rather luridly coloured bowling shirt, designed and gifted by a woman, covered with depictions of rather well endowed young ladies, nothing pornographic just cartoons of rather nubile, clothed women. This caused a storm of abuse on Twitter, that electronic lavatory wall for the emotionally incontinent.

Most would rejoice that the achievements of Dr Taylor and his team would be enough to inspire young people, including women, to take up a life of science, but according to the intolerant Twitterati abusers his shirt is enough to put women off science forever. Perhaps we should be glad, the kind of woman who is so feeble minded to be put off a life in science because of one shirt is simply not tough minded enough to take up science in the first place.

If you discard an awareness of human fallenness and our smallness in comparison with our Creator you end up with with a world where ego is everything. Retaining a concept of the infinite greatness of man whilst discarding our smallness, gives birth to people who in effect worship themselves and lose even the appreciation of the greatness of others. It matters not what a rather absent minded scientist with few social attributes has managed to achieve, wonder and amazement at what we as humans can do is immaterial; the self obsessed imagine themselves offended by his shirt and so must take him down, reduce him to tears, and force him to apologise.

Our culture of instant offence did not just happen. The restraints upon the egotistical tendency inherent in most of us have been removed. We know only entitlement and have forgotten responsibility. This means that for the Twitter warriors campaigning for what they see as social justice there is no end game, there will always be a cause for offence, however small, however imagined, because the offended are the centre of their own world.

When we discard Christianity we discard more than Christianity.

HUMILITY

Always the masters of the warfare of vocabulary leftists have, much to the chagrin of many, captured the designation of ‘progressive’. This is with the clear intention of suggesting that any who oppose them are thereby ‘regressive’.

One of the main problems with progressives is that in their utopian desire to create the perfect society they are impatient and don’t allow society to develop. Like little children viewing the sweets at the checkout they know what they want and they want it ‘Now!’ and will have a tantrum until they get their way.

It is this infantilism, when linked to the unswerving certainty that they are indisputably right, that leads to the horrors of ‘progressive’ tyranny. In order to build the new utopia everything in the past has to be thrown away, baby with bathwater. Progressives have a constant yearning to try to start afresh from Day One.

In rejecting Christianity our progressive elites have also rejected the Christian virtues which not only made society bearable but made it safe. Virtues have been replaced by values; unfortunately values are no societal defence when those values are infinitely malleable.

One of the unacknowledged results of this wish to start de novo is that the baby inevitably gets thrown out. In deposing Christianity as the main formative influence on Western culture and replacing it with an inchoate belief in emotion as the standard by which all events and statements are to be judged we have ‘progressed’ to a situation in which society has left itself wide open to harm, all in the cause of not wishing to give ‘offence’.

humility-john-buchan-26325

Scorned by progressives as an attitude of mind which leaves the individual wide open to oppression the Christian virtue of humility has all but disappeared from society.

This has more important ramifications than the incredible rudeness of contestants on reality television. The disappearance of humility is seen in individuals and bodies putting forward their ‘demands’ rather than requests. A request opens the way to discussion and give and take; a demand opens the way to confrontation and conflict. The disappearance of humility has opened the door to a different, more selfish and divided society with its concomitant dangers.

Consider Muslims who eagerly cry out against ‘religious discrimination’ when police target them for investigation. This has led to a situation where police in the UK have ignored monstrous Muslim rape gangs operating throughout England. The Muslim religion is front and centre in a worldwide plague of violence, yet rather than sacrifice a bit of time and precious dignity to help ensure the safety of the most vulnerable of their neighbours Muslims demand that everyone reinterpret reality in order to safeguard their tender feelings.

We find police assigned to protect high-crime neighbourhoods being castigated for racism when they question youths from an ethnic minority. Yet it is inevitable that more youths from ethnic minorities are questioned by the police than any other group. The highest crime areas are those with the highest proportion of ethnic minorities and most crime is committed by young men. Those who are viewed with suspicion in such areas are inevitably going to be mainly young men from ethnic minorities. Yet the police are denounced as racist for stopping and frisking the suspicious, when the truth is the officers are trying to protect the majority of non-criminals in those mainly ethnic minority areas.

We find illegal immigrants demanding their ‘rights’, whilst breaking and thus endangering the very laws that sustain those rights for all.

We find homosexuals activists who deliberately, viciously and wickedly attempt to destroy the businesses of those who, in conscience, cannot regard them as they demand. In the UK the latest instance is the attempt is to force Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland to bake a cake carrying propaganda in support of homosexual marriage. Ashers have been ordered by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to apologise for giving offence to the homosexual rights activist who ordered the cake, and to give him hard cash to ameliorate the ‘offence’ caused.

H9omosexual Cake

All these are instances of selfishness, the point blank refusal to live graciously in a world of difference where some people have beliefs and customs which do not accord with ours. Instead we have the demand that everyone conforms to a particular set of minority beliefs. The progressive has a specialised concept of give and take; we do the giving, they do the taking.

The good of the majority and the good of the individual are often in conflict. Unquestioning following of the general will is a recipe for regimented tyranny. Unswerving insistence on the rights of the individual is a recipe for chaotic anarchy.

humility

For the individual to be willing to make sacrifices for the good of the many he has to be able to value the other and be willing to make sacrifices for the good of the other. Humility sometimes demands the strength to place the well being or conscientious beliefs of others before one’s own. Paul advised us in I Corinthians 8:7 ‘Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling-block to the weak’.

Only the strong can be truly humble; perhaps this is why progressives make such strident demands for conformity.

When a society throws out Christianity it throws out more than bell-ringers and evensong, it throws out harmony between people.

BLIND LEADERS

In the last twenty four hours two Canadian soldiers have been murdered. One, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, was deliberately run over in Saint Jean Sur-Richelieu, Quebec, the town which hosts Canada’s Royal Military College. The other, Corporal Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a ceremonial guard at the National War Memorial in Ontario was shot dead. In two cases within two days soldiers were murdered in places where you could be sure to find soldiers. Both terrorist attacks were carried out by converts to Islam.

The euphemisms immediately rolled out. Obama in particular termed the murder of Corporal Cirillo an act of ‘senseless violence’. It was not senseless violence to search out particular military target in order to commit murder in front of the National War Memorial, it was a deliberate symbolic assault on the Canadian state in the pursuit of an ideology. Just as the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby was a symbolic assault by two Muslim converts directed at the heart of the British state.

These attacks are not senseless like the shooting up of cinemas and shopping malls which seems to happen in the USA. These murders were deliberate, premeditated attacks on Western states who have the temerity to try to free Islamic countries from the horrors of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

Our rulers, for they have stopped being representatives and have become rulers, must wake up to the fact that a virulent ideology has declared war on the West. We are in the midst of an ideological battle, and if we don’t confront the ideology itself we will lose.

When a British soldier is murdered by Islamists on the streets of the capital and David Cameron immediately goes on television to declare, ‘This is nothing to do with Islam’ even although the murderers were shouting Allahu Akbar, then we lose. When an American Muslim soldier murders thirteen unarmed service personnel in Fort Hood and the Obama White House declares it was not a terrorist attack but an incident of workplace violence, then we lose.

Unless you are willing to acknowledge that these attacks, and too many others like them, are incidents of ideological warfare and not random acts of ‘senseless violence’ then you are part of the problem. Smothering reality in a blanket of euphemisms merely serves to insulate the barbaric and gives them the freedom to continue their warfare. Appeasement never works.

The response of General Casey, Chief of Staff of the US Army, to the Fort Hood massacre is instructive, ‘What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.

In the name of multiculturalism we refuse to confront actual danger, we are like infants holding their hands over their eyes and thinking that because they can’t see us we can’t see them.

Multiculturalism is a one-way street. President Karzai of Afghansitan had the last Christian church in Afghanistan razed to the ground whilst we in the West were expending lives and treasure to keep him alive and in power. Try opening a church in our ally Saudi Arabia where Bibles are illegal and you will find just how far multiculturalism goes. Try being a Christian anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa and you will find out how tolerant and peaceful the religion of peace is when it has power.

It is not only our secular leadership which is willfully blind. The churches must acknowledge the part they have played, both in denuding Christianity of any certainty and in giving Islam a free pass.

When we strip our culture and our faith of distinctive meaning we should not be surprised that rootless young people in search of identity will be attracted to an ideology which deals in certainty and brooks no divergence. Most will follow Meghan Trainor or Taylor Swift, but unfortunately some will choose to follow Islam. We should not be surprised that a significant portion of these converts, or reverts as Muslims term them, should choose to take the Koran seriously and try to implement its instructions with regard to ‘unbelievers’ and their states.

When a culture has its foundations deliberately eroded we should express no surprise when the entire edifice tumbles down. We should be surprised, however, when those who are meant to guard the foundations both undermine those foundations and give approval to those who would destroy the culture entirely.

When denominational leaders spend more time attacking those within the church who do not accept secular morality than they do in defending persecuted Christians, we are in trouble. When we find an archbishop of Canterbury arguing for the adoption of some aspects of Sharia law in the UK, we know our culture is in deep trouble. When we have denominational leaders, in the interests of multiculturalism and not wishing to cause offence, downplaying the gospel as the only way of salvation, we may well have lost completely.

We are in the midst of an ideological struggle. The worrying thing is that only one side is actually struggling.

CHANGE AND DECAY

In the church in Scotland there is an objection sure to be repeated whenever change of any kind is mooted, ‘But we’ve always done it that way’. In this we are probably no different from churches elsewhere. The sad truth is that it was ever thus, in fact ‘We’ve always done it this way’.

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The Venerable Myopia Motionless, minister of St Rheumatics on the Knee, laid down his quill. Pushing back the scroll he shook his hoary old head and sighed, ‘Ochone and ochone’. As he ponsdered the state of the church he was forced to recall a line from a beloved hymn in his treasured hymnal Hymns Ancient & Ever So Slightly Less Decrepit, ‘Change and decay in all around I see’.

He could see no end to it all. Young ministers refusing to have a proper tonsure at the front and going in for those new fangled tonsures at the back of the skull. Well, God would have the last laugh, He didn’t create male pattern baldness for nothing.

Myopia had even heard rumours of people wanting to translate the Bible into everyday English. Preposterous, how could the church survive if people actually understood what was going on? If this continued you would end up with people in the pews actually thinking that they could understand the mysteries of the faith themselves.

Why, if that happened and all the obscurity and mystery went the officiating ministers would lose all status and esteem. The common folk in the pews might even want to start thinking for themselves and not bowing the knee to the experts, ministers like himself.

Myopia knew in his bones that once ministers stopped dressing up in cod mediaeval costume they would lose all respect. Folk would think they were just ordinary people when the magic went. What these young whippersnappers forgot is that it’s the clothes that make the man, that’s what earns respect, not the person or the message. A favourite saying of his bishop’s was ‘A dog collar covers a multitude of sins’. Just think of what a cassock and robes could cover up. Well, it worked for him.

He smiled quietly to himself as he recalled the golden age when he was a lad. The old ways were the best. Didn’t these impudent children realise that trying to change things for the better was self-defeating, how can you improve something that is perfect?

I may well have been wrong. It is possible.

At one time I would have said that whilst the USA had its culture war here in the UK there was no such thing. Any such war was was over and we had lost it before we began fighting. All that remains were a few hold-outs waging guerilla campaigns against the establishment elite who control every aspect of UK society. I’m not so sure now.

From the ’60′s onward we experienced a takeover of society by the same standardised outlook. ‘Progressive’ values are daily pumped into our homes by the media, print and broadcast. These are also the views of the major political parties who hold to only slightly nuanced versions of the same cultural ideology. The mainstream Christian denominations, despite real theological differences, articulate and practice the same progressive responses to social and moral ills.

In last week’s by-elections in Clacton and in Heywood and Middleton the main parties met with a mighty shock. UKIP won Clacton from the Conservatives and in Heywood and Middleton Labour just scraped home with a majority of 617. Both seats had previously been considered safe. Whilst considering most of UKIP’s programme to be vacuous, weak in analysis and short of detail it is heartening to see the establishment shocked into reality.

The insiders set the pace, established the parameters of debate and created the atmosphere. In these two by-elections the people, for once, said ‘No’.

We have been enmeshed in a monolithic progressive establishment holding everything in its thrall. They seem to live on some distant planet where the everyday concerns of earthlings do not impinge on their gilded lives; or if the hoi polloi are ever heard they are dismissed out of hand. This was perhaps best expressed by ex-Conservative MP Matthew Paris. When commenting on the likelihood of UKIP winning the Clacton by-election he wrote, ‘I’m not arguing that we should be careless of the needs of struggling people and places such as Clacton. But I am arguing – if I am honest – that we should be careless of their opinions.’

The establishment elite hold the people in contempt. We have witnessed in our lifetimes large scale social, economic, aesthetic and moral disruption, and been blithely assured that this is an advance, an improvement, progress. To express dissent was, prior to last week, to find oneself marginalised. When ordinary working people voiced concern about the nature of immigration into the UK they were described as ‘bigots’ by Labour and ‘loonies and nut cases’ by the Conservatives. To the increasingly irrelevant Lib Dems anyone expressing the concerns of ordinary people was racist, homophobic and probably fascist.

The usual term of denigration for UKIP has been ‘populist’. Appealing to the people and expressing their concerns is the ultimate low in the minds of our elites.

Both main parties found out last week that they can no longer rely on the tribal vote. Those who have always voted Conservative or Labour cannot be counted on to vote blue or red no matter who stands, what they promise or who leads the parties. With good reason the people don’t trust the politicians.

It is almost amusing to witness both main parties making sudden reversals in policy direction in order to hold back UKIP. Today Boris Johnson, mayor of London, says, ‘The Conservative Party must tighten up border controls to win back voters from UKIP’. Yet in 2012 in the midst of describing British workers as ‘lazy’ Johnson had called for an amnesty on over-stayers. He also criticised his own Government’s immigration cap with a warning that key firms were becoming increasingly ‘hacked off’ with the restrictions on overseas workers and that any cap was ‘damaging to business’.

Labour for their part are appalled that the working class voters whose allegiance they rely upon are actually deeply concerned about a completely different range of issues from that which exercises the bourgeois elites running Labour. We even found Ed Miliband, the day after the by-elections, shamefacedly admitting, It is not prejudiced to be concerned about immigration‘.

But its not just about immigration, its about society and its direction.

Were the by-elections victories in a UK culture war? It’s doubtful. Is UKIP going to be the standard bearer for a resurgence of social conservatism? I hope not.

What has happened is that those who have found themselves marginalised and dismissed by progressive society have been given encouragement to fight back against the machine. That includes Christians.

Presented with the picture of a declining Church in the midst of a confused culture we are too inclined to despair. We forget that initially the Church grew and flourished in the midst of an antagonistic pagan culture, not too dissimilar in its moral relativism from what we know today. The Church can grow again; and a vibrant, engaged Church is needed by unbelievers as well as believers.

Today’s political disenchantment, even insurrection, is no more than a sign of the disillusionment of many with our culture. The response to it cannot be confined solely to the political, it must go to the heart of the matter.

As people generally become aware of the failures of a secular progressive society we are presented with an opportunity. Our response must avoid either the woolly liberalism which has waffled the Church into dramatic decline, or the aggressive evangelical theocracy which demands submission across the board.

We can, with prayer, trust, hard thought and work, make real a church today which is modelled on the New Testament Church; engaged, creating caring communities, embodying the love of Christ, a Church determined and willing to turn the world the right way up again.

Many Scots are convinced there exists a world-wide conspiracy to deny us our rightful measure of respect and esteem, if not downright adulation. Radar, telephone, adhesive postage stamps, penicillin, television, anesthesia, digestive biscuits, if it was not invented, discovered or stumbled upon by a Scot we think it was not worthwhile inventing, finding or doing. We may not have invented the wheel, but a Scot invented the pneumatic tyre around it.

Admittedly we did invent golf; but be fair, one mistake and the rest of the world never lets us forget about it.

Unfortunately this Scot finds himself in the position of scorning the erection in London of a huge statue to a Scot. Normally this would be considered right and proper. If there is one thing which would improve London immeasurably it is the erection of more public statues of Scots.

St Thomas’ Hospital has decided to erect a ten foot high statue of Jamaican born Scot Mary Seacole. Voted the ‘Greatest Black Briton’ in a BBC poll. Mary Seacole, nee Grant, had a Scottish father and three Scottish grandparents. This means she would have more right to play for Scotland than many present members of our rugby and football squads. Given their performances perhaps she would have been an improvement. Mary was proud of her Scottish heritage,’I am a Creole, and have good Scots blood coursing through my veins. My father was a soldier of an old Scottish family.’

Mary Seacole, Scottish Businesswoman

Mary Seacole, Scottish Businesswoman

Unfortunately Mary is being used as a political weapon by the progressive media establishment. Who runs the BBC , ITV and other arms of the media is more important than who runs the Conservative or Labour parties. Political parties adjust our taxes, the media shapes our perceptions.

Seacole is touted as a symbol of heroic black endeavour being ground down, slighted and ignored by a racist establishment. There are many British blacks whose achievements have been airbrushed out of history because of their race. Mary Seacole is not one of them.

An out and out capitalist, Mary came to Britain, not to pursue a nursing career but to look after her gold investments, ‘My share in the Palmyra Mine speculation’. This clearly is not something to endear her to the cultural fascisti who determine what is right to think and say. She was a good, decent person who ran a restaurant/bar/takeaway for officers during the Crimean War. In her memoir ‘Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands’ Seacole described her ‘British Hotel’ as a ‘mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers’. In her memoir she gives entire chapters to her meals and catering.

Mary never formally applied for a nursing post. She did make personal approaches, sometimes to the wrong people. Possibly she was refused because of her heritage, but there is no evidence she was. Apart from starting to apply after the first two batches of nurses had already gone to Crimea she was old for nursing, lacked hospital experience and didn’t submit the documents required of others.

Although mainly concerned with serving officers lobsters and champagne Seacole did help ordinary soldiers. When she first arrived and her restaurant was yet to open she served hot tea, lemonade and cake to the injured waiting for transport to hospital. She also did some first aid work on three known occasions. In her memoir Seacole admits to ‘lamentable blunders’ and trying remedies that later made her ‘shudder’; she claimed few successes.

The BBC in their ‘Horrible Histories’ children’s series, one of the funniest programmes on television, had a sketch showing Mary being rejected four times by Florence Nightingale because of her race. The simple historical fact is that Seacole and Nightingale met once and in her autobiography Seacole describes it as perfectly cordial. The sketch also appeared on the BBC’s Learning Zone, an educational, online resource for children. Progressives love getting to children in primary school, they can then shape their minds for life.

No primary sources indicate that Mary Seacole was a nursing pioneer frustrated by a racist establisment and then airbrushed from history. Yet the BBC, the British Council, and the entire establishment elite are bent on projecting her as something she wasn’t.

Florence Nightingale, Nursing Pioneer

Florence Nightingale, Nursing Pioneer

This goes in concert with efforts to destroy the reputation of Florence Nightingale who did nurse in the Crimea and who did work tirelessly at home to reform hospitals and establish nursing as a profession. Nightingale, a steely determined, authoritarian, self-disciplined Protestant did not display the values preached by progressives, she had to be displaced. The vehicle chosen was Mary Seacole, a good natured hotelier with a knowledge of herbal healing, who was not white.

Delegates at the 1999 conference of the Health Service union Unison voted overwhelmingly for a motion deeming Florence Nightingale an ‘inappropriate role model’ for modern nursing, as her image ‘represented negative and backward-thinking elements’.

Once history was about the discovery, selection and interpretation of facts. Today history, as so much else, is about image and how that image fits the progressive project. The facts of Seacole’s life are immaterial, it is what she can be made to represent that is important to the progressive. A decent, hard working, enterprising, black businesswoman making her way in the world does not fit in with the project in the same way a downtrodden, abused, rejected, black heroine of care and compassion does.

Consider that even greater icon of progressivism, Che Guevara, the face that launched a million T-shirts. Guevara was a misogynist, racist, incompetent, vicious sociopath. “Hatred is the central element of our struggle!” Guevara raved in his 1966 Message to the Tricontinental Conference in Havana:

“Hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him a violent and cold-blooded killing machine…We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow… These hyenas [Americans] are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”

Yet oh so progressive Robert Redford made a film glorifying the man who jailed or exiled most of Cuba’s best writers, poets and independent film-makers while converting Cuba’s press and cinema, at machine-gun point, into propaganda agencies for a Stalinist regime.

Be aware of how progressives operate, and call them on it every time.

Amongst the easy going, tolerant adherents of the religion of peace it has to be admitted that those ‘radical’ Muslims are a bit of a downer. These people actually take the Koran seriously. Thus torture, kidnapping and beheading are considered pretty normal fare for those who refuse to share their allegiance to fun loving, open minded Muhammad.

As we have seen things can get pretty tough for western Christians and Jews who fall into their hands. Things are much much worse for converts from Islam. Followers of Islam everywhere see it as an ‘opt in’ movement with no ‘opt out’ clause; once in you are in forever.

As Meriam Yehya Ibrahim from Sudan found out, even if you have been an Orthodox Christian all your life but your father was a Muslim that makes you one too and, according to all Muslims, there is no opt out possibility. Although now safe in the West Meriam was sentenced to death for the ‘crime’ of leaving an Islam she had never joined.

Meriam Arriving In the USA

          Meriam Arriving In the USA

A sheikh pled with the court at Meriam’s sentencing hearing,  ‘how dangerous a crime like this is to Islam and the Islamic community’. Which is precisely why they try to enforce their intolerant laws, if people were free to commit the ‘crime’ of leaving Islam that would undermine the Islamic power structure which keeps the politico/religious authorities in place. It can be dangerous to leave Islam.

In 2009 a web publisher from Iran, known only as FG, petitioned the Swedish government for political asylum to escape the persecution of the all powerful Iranian government. Sadly asylum wasn’t granted. The Swedish government did not think that publishing material against the Iranian government and being threatened with imprisonment and death was sufficient reason to be given asylum in oh so liberal Sweden.

In 2010 the Iranian took an action placing him beyond the pale in Iran; FG committed the crime of converting to Christianity. Once again he asked the Swedes for asylum, this time with religious persecution added to his plea. In 2011 the Swedish government again denied his request.

Given that under Shari’a law apostacy from Islam is a capital offense and Shari’a courts aren’t noted for their judicial fairness, and since no Islamic regime likes to be criticised for its political doctrine, FG has two pretty strong counts against him.

He then appealed to the Fifth Section of the European Court of Human Rights, no doubt imagining that given his circumstances he had a pretty good case for Sweden’s decision to be overturned. In another of those decisions which make ordinary people shake their heads in disbelief the ECHR found that ‘sending him back to Iran did not violate his right to life since Iranian authorities may have been unaware of his religious conversion.’ The decision further went on to ‘reason’ that FG could probably avoid any danger (by which they mean somehow stay alive) if he kept his faith a ‘private matter’.

At least the ECHR seem to have accepted that there is no doubt that Christian converts in Iran face very real and substantial danger if they are open about their faith.

We can have no idea of the faith, if any, of the members of the Fifth Section of the ECHR. However, anyone with the scantiest knowledge of any faith would know that an integral part of faith, particularly the Christian faith, is being able to worship openly and to discuss faith with others.

Religious freedom, which Muslims have everywhere in the civilised world, means freedom to be open about one’s faith. Meanwhile, FG ‘may’ be safe if he keeps his mouth shut and goes underground.

FG has not given up. The unbelievably naive decision of the Fifth Section has been appealed to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.

According to Ann Buwalda, Executive Director of Jubilee Campaign which, along with Alliance Defending Freedom, has just been allowed to represent FG, “This case demonstrates the need for countries in Europe to more clearly understand the nature of cases involving converts to Christianity. The grounds given by Sweden for denying asylum to Sweden, failed to take into account internationally recognized standards.”

As ADF Legal Counsel, Paul Coleman said, “The human rights situation for Christians in Iran has been well-documented, and there is little doubt that a Christian convert would face real risk of harm if he is forced to return to his country. Christians should be able to practice their faith openly without fearing for their lives.”

Swedish Muslims Enjoying Freedom Of Expression

Swedish Muslims Enjoying Freedom Of Expression

With a single exception, every chapter of the Qur’an begins with the words Bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim, “In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate.”

Will we find Sweden’s sizeable Muslim population, who enjoy total freedom of religion, petitioning their government to be merciful and compassionate and allow FG to experience the same freedom of religion in Sweden that they have?

Will they petition the government of Iran, run by their fellow Muslims, to allow FG to experience the same freedom of religion they have in the West?

Or, as is more likely, will we see yet again that for Islam toleration is a one way street, and most dishonourably it’s a street along which our governments and courts are content to walk?

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